Kelsey Grammer, Douglas Hodge, Alfred Molina, Valerie Harper, Sherie Rene Scott, Jan Maxwell, Katie Finneran, Eddie Redmayne, Bobby Steggert, Levi Kreis, Branford Marsalis, and a host of nominees share their thoughts.
The 2010 Tony Award nominations were announced on Tuesday, May 4 and the musicals Fela! and La Cage Aux Folles led the pack with 11 nominations, followed by the revival of Fences, which received 10 nominations.
In addition, Memphis picked up eight nominations; Red and Ragtime each got seven nods, and A View from the Bridge earned a total of six nominations. TheaterMania spent the day chatting with more than two dozen of this year's nominees, who shared their thoughts on their nominations and their shows. Here's what they told us.
Kelsey Grammer (Best Actor in a Musical, La Cage Aux Folles)
"The Tony Award is as good as it gets. The stage is where I started and where I always wanted to be. Singing was what I was first drawn to when I was a kid; then acting took over, and then I was doing Shakespeare, and then television. So there's a foundation for me being in musicals, even if most people haven't seen it. As for La Cage, when I first saw it in London I connected to the idea that with Georges and Albin, this is one of the best relationships we'll ever see on stage. I fell in love with the dream of love, the difficulties of love, the triumphs of love; we should all have a relationship as good as this one and that relationship is what I decided to play. I am thrilled to be nominated with my co-star Douglas Hodge; I should say I am thrilled to be numbered in his company. When I saw him do this show in London, I thought he was just extraordinary and I still feel it every night as we share the stage."
Douglas Hodge (Best Actor in a Musical, La Cage Aux Folles)
"The Tony Award is the pinnacle worldwide for what I do as an actor, and to be included for my work in a musical in particular -- since I have only done one musical before, Guys and Dolls -- is amazing. The fact that Kelsey was also nominated alongside me is just wonderful. He came to England and saw the show when I was doing it, and I knew he was there and it was nerve-wracking. But then we spent a week in England together doing rehearsals, during most of which I was dressed as a woman, and I knew then that I couldn't have asked for an easier person to work together with."
Alfred Molina (Best Actor in a Play, Red)
"It's always wonderful to be recognized with this award. This is my third nomination and it's my third time on Broadway, which is almost as good as winning. Three for three; maybe I should retire. Anyway, it's a nice factoid -- something I can tell my mother-in-law the next time she asks me what I'm doing. I often tell people that as an actor, when you know you have to do something, it's rarely a punch in the air, it's more of a sinking feeling that all your other options are disappearing. And after I read this play, there was a moment when I phoned my wife and said "oh darling, there's something I have to tell you." Now, most women would hear that and go to the darkest place possible, but she knows me so well that she said "oh no, you've read a play." But even though it certainly felt like a really special piece of work, you don't know a year later that you're going to be up for a prize like the Tony Award."
Sherie Rene Scott (Best Actress in a Musical/Best Book of a Musical, Everyday Rapture)
"Two nominations are truly double the pleasure, double the fun. I am really happy that Dick Scanlan and I were rewarded for the writing; because it was such a huge thing to write something I was proud of. I love writing and want to do more, so this is encouraging. Of course, I also love performing -- so this nomination is also encouraging in that way -- and I am very excited that people got that I'm playing a character and realize this show is fiction. It's also definitely going to make doing the show for the next few weeks a lot more fun."
Valerie Harper (Best Actress in a Play, Looped)
"I started on Broadway in the 1950s, in L'il Abner at the St. James, so to now be part of this "Tony" group is so exciting. Tallulah Bankhead was a wonderful character and I was so privileged to be able to play this sensational dame every night. I worked hard not to make her a caricature. Of course, I am sorry the play didn't run as long as it could have. We came here after two years of productions -- but maybe we came in too fast. Still, we got a run. Now, we're going to do it for 10 weeks in Toronto at some point, and we may schlep her back here. I think New York hasn't seen the last of Tallulah."
Chad Kimball (Best Actor in a Musical, Memphis)
"I am super-happy about this; it's wonderful to be recognized by your peers. Just as important, I've been very pleased with the reaction to the show and me by the general public. Huey is an in-your-face guy, and there were times over the six years I've done this show that Huey was even more aggravating. Our director, Chris Ashley, let me do what I wanted and then brought me back. Now the reaction I get from a lot of men who see the show is that they see Huey as every guy."
Montego Glover, (Best Actress in a Musical, Memphis)
"It's unbelievable. Six years ago, we did the first developmental production of this show, and we thought wouldn't it be amazing to let it develop it the way we deserve; and present it on Broadway with the cast we need, and we have gotten that and so much more. Everything I have as an actress goes into this piece, and the fact that it reaches people and they respond is so gratifying."
Christiane Noll (Best Actress in a Musical, Ragtime)
"Today has been a little overwhelming, especially since I am trying to pack and do laundry before I leave for London tonight to perform with Julie Andrews. I was most definitely concerned that because the show had closed in January, no one would remember my work -- at least that's what I was telling everyone. So there have been lots of "I told you so" from other people today and it's not a bad thing to hear. I guess what I've also been hearing is that people were really struck by the amount of humor I gave to Mother; how I approached her may have seemed unexpected to some people. But when you have a performance as beloved as Marin Mazzie's performance was in the original, you have to do something different."
Jan Maxwell (Best Actress in a Play, The Royal Family; Best Featured Actress in a Play, Lend Me a Tenor)
"I am still trying to pick up my jaw from the floor. I was just happy to be employed twice this season and pay some bills. I didn't expect this, especially in this celebrity-filled and remarkable season. It's really an honor just to be noticed. I want to kiss every nominator full on the mouth. I really have to thank my directors, Doug Hughes and Stanley Tucci, for casting me. You can't believe what a good director means to an actor, and both of these men were extremely giving and helpful and incredible leaders. They're really two of the most wonderful directors I have ever met."